February 19, 2006
Not a comedy
Very little comedy, intentional or otherwise, here. A few wink, wink, nudge, nudge, comments that might have been worth a smirk in 1934. Mostly it's two guys competing for one girl who isn't worth the fuss.
If you wondered what James Cagney's sometimes-actor brother looked like, he's here.
February 23, 2005
Lost In Cardboard Props!
This '34 epic actually sez a lot more than its' thin plot suggests: it is full of Dire Implications for today's P.C. zealots. FDR is thoroughly corrupt--the Air Mail system working so well from 1920 thru 1934 falls apart within WEEKS of his cancelling existing Subsidies & awarding them to his Lackeys ( most of whom were not even pilots & owned NO PLANES!) Funny, the 'storms' that now engulf FDR's awardees in the air didn't seem to have happened from '20 to '34. His Army Air Corps is so riddled with incompetent pilots that many crash now-fatally.(an Evil Omen for his upcoming War). Hero William Cagney looks a lot like a more famous Cagney-but without the 'fire' that a hero needs. Serious movie buffs will be o-ffended by the cardboard boxes with dials that are passed off as 'high-tech radios'. Hattie McDaniels has a secret-and it's not that she's a Fat Black Maid (again). Students will note that Beebe & Piccard were making news in balloons in '34; so Hollywood quickly cashed in on it. So the plot is air-thin; the subject is pretty exciting even today, even to those who are not gullible boys at Saturday matinees in '34--and would die as gullible draftees in B-17s in '44...